Kraft Mac and Cheese
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Holmes Report
CEO

Kraft Mac and Cheese

For four consecutive years, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese has conducted the “I Want the Blues!” Contest, a nationwide search for its 12 biggest fans to appear on the front of the famous blue box.

Paul Holmes

For four consecutive years, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese has conducted the “I Want the Blues!” Contest, a nationwide search for its 12 biggest fans to appear on the front of the famous blue box.  The “Blue Box Kids” appear on 20 million special edition boxes, each featuring one winner’s photo on the front.  In addition, the grand prize winners receive a college scholarship worth $10,000 and a family vacation for four to SeaWorld, Orlando for the winner announcement event.
 
In 2000, BSMG conducted PR programs for the third-annual winner announcement in March and the fourth-annual contest kick-off in May. 
 
OBJECTIVES
 
  • Generate consumer excitement and media coverage surrounding year three winner announcement
  • Generate consumer excitement and media coverage of year four contest kick-off; drive contest entries
  • Increase brand awareness and equity
 
STRATEGY AND TACTICS
 
In the fourth year of this annual program, our challenge was to keep the contest fresh and generate coverage of the year three winners in March, without jeopardizing coverage of the year four contest announcement in May.  The close timing also posed risks of confusion and media saturation.
 
We added a video entry portion to the contest that created a new, lively twist and provided excellent visuals for television segments.
 
For each phase of the program, we targeted specific media. 
 
For both programs, we targeted food and kid page editors at the top 300 daily newspapers, to cover the winner announcement in March and the contest kick-off in May.
 
We distributed an audio news release for both the winner announcement event and the contest kick-off.
 
Based on past results showing strongest national television coverage for the winner announcement, we distributed a B-roll package nationally in March for the winner announcement only.
 
Also for the winner announcement, we conducted intense media relations efforts in each of the 12 winners’ hometown media markets, securing post event in-studio television interviews, day of and post event radio interviews and feature-length stories in each of the winner’s major daily newspapers. 
 
In May, for the contest kick-off, we did not do a national television effort, rather, we focused our efforts on print media with a mat release and a press kit mailing to the food and kid page editors at the top 300 daily newspapers.
 
Also for the contest kick-off, we conducted local grocery store events in six media markets where consumers could enter the contest.  In these markets, we secured multiple hits in the hometown newspapers (calendar mentions, food columns, feature stories and photos), television stations (in-studio appearances and on-the-scene event coverage) and we partnered with local radio stations to do live remotes at events and were interviewed by a number of morning show DJs. 
 
We partnered with SeaWorld Orlando for the Year Three Winner Announcement event.
SeaWorld’s national recognition provided a strong partner.  The kid-friendly, educational venue delivered a “new” news hook and a fresh feel to the B-roll package and wire photo. 
Shamu was able to lend celebrity appeal to the event.  The marine animals and park activities provided the winners with something new and exciting to talk about in their hometown media and B-roll interviews.
 
Despite the excitement surrounding SeaWorld, KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese remained the star and the focus of the story, while the winners were made hometown heroes.
 
The Year Four Contest Kick-off events and media relations.
 
The search was on to find the next 12 “Blue Box Kids” with a press kit featuring a collage of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese boxes with past winners’ photos and asking “Who will be the next Blue Box Kids?” The press kit included a slide of a box of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese with a big question mark where the winner’s photo would go.
Local market events featured visuals of local children “strutting their stuff” for the camera in the video entry portion of the contest, posing in giant, 6-foot tall boxes of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese and performing the “C-Rex Shuffle” dance with orange dinosaur mascot Cheesasaurus Rex.
 
MEASUREMENT OF SUCCESS: AMERICA GOT THE BLUES!
 
BOTH programs “blue away” expectations with a total of nearly 1,000 stories resulting in 133 million media impressions.  Most importantly boxes of KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese “blue off” grocery shelves during both phases. 
 
Year Three Winner Announcement:
  • Generated more than 460 stories and nearly 70 million consumer impressions
  • All 12 winners had feature length stories with photos in their daily hometown newspapers
  • Final results showed an increase from year two in number of stories and consumer impressions
 
Year Four Contest Kick-Off:
  • Generated 500 stories and more than 63 million consumer impressions
  • Highlights included the New York Daily News, the Chicago Sun-Times, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Associated Press Broadcast Network and Contestworld.com
  • Final results 107% of goal
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